Olivia Wyatt & Bitchin Bajas

Sailing A Sinking Sea

Drag City DC649LP
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Last year, filmmaker Oliva Wyatt invited Bitchin Bajas to add incidental music to the climatic sounds of her feature-length experimental documentary on the nomadic Moken people, Sailing A Sinking Sea. This new album release packages the soundtrack LP with a DVD of the film, thus opening several windows to the eternal questions posed on both formats and providing two distinct pieces of art coming from the same source.
Sailing A Sinking Sea is a feature-length experimental documentary exploring the culture of the Moken people of Burma and Thailand. The Moken are a seafaring community and one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia, traditionally spending eight months out of the year in thatch-roofed wooden boats. Wholly reliant upon the sea, their entire belief system revolves around water. Sailing A Sinking Sea weaves a visual and aural tapestry of Moken mythologies and present-day practices. As a viewer you will swim under the sea past fishes and mermaids, sail boats across turquoise waters, land on 13 different islands, step inside sea shanties on stilts, delve into the minds of shamans, become possessed through the worship of sea gods, dance between lovers and emerge drenched in Moken mythology.

Bitchin Bajas were tapped to add to the already-existing raft of water sounds and other field recordings captured in the film. They were shown scenes, and with subtle directions from Wyatt, laid down music in the vibe of the environment, making particularly satisfying use of auto-harps in the process. Mark McNeill at Dublab did a mix compiling film sounds and soundtrack pieces that gave the album an aquatic flow, with waves of water, Moken voices and songs and cascades of autoharp, synth, bells and flute lapping up against each other, producing a sense of time passing in its ultimate way?—?somehow timelessly, today twined with the epic tail of history and the million forgotten days stretching behind. The sound of the real intermingling with the music of the mind provides a hypnotic, album-length interpolation of the energies of Sinking a Sailing Sea’s incredible images.
Executive-produced by Will Oldham, Sinking a Sailing Sea was premiered at SXSW in the 2015 Visions Catgory, and it went on to receive its international premiere at Hot Docs. It has gone on to be shown a a number of festivals including Margaret Mead, BFI London, and the Singapore International Film Fest, where it recently won the Audience Choice award.

Olivia Wyatt is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer based in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Sublime Frequencies film and music collective. She has directed, produced, shot and edited three feature-length documentaries, Staring into the Sun (2011), The Pierced Heart & The Machete (2013), and Sailing A Sinking Sea (2015). She has a series of shorts out alongside a vinyl LP by Bitchin Bajas called Vibraquatic (2012) and was one of the creators of the film Below the Brain (2011). Her work has screened at SXSW, Hot Docs, Maysles Cinema, Flaherty NYC at Tribeca 92Y, Anthology Film Archives, BAM, Third Man Records, All Tomorrow’s Parties, The Milano Film Festival, The Barbican Museum, and The Museum of Jurassic Technology. Her work has been highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, BBC, Indie Wire, and VICE.

Since 2010, Bitchin Bajas have released records on Important, Permanent, Bathetic, Kallestri Editions, Hands In the Dark and Drag City. They have played their music all over the world. Their most recent release is a collaborative album with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties.

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